Update: The shopping cart trick isn’t working to avoid a hard inquiry for everyone. So, use this method at your own risk.
Comenity Bank, Synchrony Bank, and Wells Fargo store credit cards all require a hard credit inquiry now to get approved. However, you can still use this trick to see if you’re pre-approved. Knowing that you’re more likely to get approved will help you avoid using an unnecessary hard inquiry.
Having bad credit comes with more than a few downsides. But two of the biggest concerns are how to qualify for new credit accounts and how to fix your existing credit.
There’s a simple strategy that, in many instances, can help you do both. It’s known as the “shopping cart trick,” or sometimes the “soft pull trick.”
Avoiding a Hard Credit Inquiry
With a few steps, you can apply for a retail store credit card and avoid getting a hard credit pull on your credit report. You’ll be more likely to get approved because the credit card issuer won’t see your full credit history with your application.
Another benefit is that the shopping cart trick can help you add an account in good standing to your credit report. Plus, you can get deals from stores you shop at frequently, such as a certain percentage off your purchase, gift certificates throughout the year, or free merchandise.
Find out how you can implement the shopping cart trick and whether it’s suitable for your financial situation.
It can be a positive tool to help rebuild your overall finances in many cases. Ready to find out how to avoid a credit pull on your next credit card application? Let’s get started.
Why is it good to avoid hard pulls on your credit report?
First, it’s important to understand why you would want to use the shopping cart trick. For many people, a hard inquiry on their credit report results in automatic denial from a creditor because of their poor credit history.
Maybe you have a string of late payments on other accounts, or you went through a foreclosure or bankruptcy in the last couple of years.
Typically, negative items like these would completely prevent you from qualifying for a credit card. But if your full credit report is not accessed as part of the application, you significantly improve your approval chances.
Preserve Credit Inquiries
Another reason you might want to avoid a hard pull by using the shopping cart trick is to preserve your existing credit during the application process.
Every time you apply for credit, credit card issuers perform a credit check, and it counts as a hard inquiry on your credit report. And every single hard inquiry reported to the credit bureaus can lower your credit scores and be listed there for two years.
Why is this a big deal? Well, if you randomly apply to 15 credit cards hoping for one to approve you, you could lower your credit between 5 and 10 points for each entry.
See also: Hard vs. Soft Inquiries: How They Affect Your Credit Score
On top of damaging your credit score with tons of credit card applications, all of those inquiries start to raise a red flag when creditors or lenders review your report. They’ll wonder why you need so many credit cards.
They will assume that you’re struggling financially, which means you will probably get denied. But, even if that’s not true, a creditor has no way of knowing that. So the shopping cart trick can help keep your credit from getting worse while still giving you access to the credit you need or want.
Now that you know how the shopping cart trick can help you, particularly if you have bad credit, let’s talk about how to do it. But first, a disclaimer: there’s no guarantee that these steps work every single time.
Readers have had better luck with some store credit cards than others, and it may take a few tries to get the right offer to pop up while you’re online. So use your best judgment, and don’t be afraid to try more than once if it doesn’t work the first time. Now let’s get to it.
1. Don’t Opt Out of Credit Card Offers
Before you do anything, make sure you haven’t opted out of receiving prescreened offers from credit card companies. You may have done this either through 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688) or www.optoutprescreen.com.
The opt-out service allows you to stop receiving pre-approval credit card offers in the mail and over the phone. While it can be annoying to get all of that junk mail, receiving those prescreened offers is an integral part of the shopping cart trick.
If you haven’t manually opted out, then you’re good to go in pursuing the shopping cart trick. However, if you have opted out, it’s easy to opt back in by visiting the website or calling the phone number.
You can always opt back out once you’ve been approved for one or more credit cards so that your mailbox isn’t cluttered with unwanted offers.
2. Disable Pop-up Blockers
The next step to use the shopping cart trick is to disable any pop-up blocker or ad blocker you have on your Internet browser. The shopping cart trick relies on the retail website sending you a pre-approval credit card offer while you’re attempting to check out online.
If you have any type of blocker activated, then you won’t receive a store credit card offer at the appropriate stage — even if you qualify for one! So go ahead and disable it. You can turn it back on when you’re done using the shopping cart trick.
3. Join the Store’s Loyalty Program
This step is optional. However, joining the store’s loyalty program may increase your chances of getting a pop-up pre-approval offer.
4. Clear Your Browser History
Right before you visit your chosen store’s website (we’ll give you a list of eligible stores below), be sure to clear your browser history. This includes wiping your cache and cookies.
To do this, find your browser settings in your menu bar, then select “History.” Alternatively, you can hit the CTRL button and H to reach the same page.
Next, click on “Clear Browsing Data” and select the following options: Browsing History, Download History, Cached Images and Files, and Cookies and Other Site Data.
If you want to skip all of those steps and you use Google Chrome as your web browser, you can also use an Incognito Window.
You can find this option in your browser settings or just click CTRL + Shift + N. Then, you don’t have to worry about any browsing history interrupting your shopping cart trick.
5. Apply for a Credit Card at the Store Website
Use the list below to find a store where you’d like a retail credit card. You can create an account if you don’t already have one, or you can choose to go through the steps as a guest. It’s up to you.
Next, add a few items to your shopping cart — don’t worry, you’re not actually going to buy them. Pick a few items rather than one large item, and shoot for about $100 worth of merchandise. Once you’ve window shopped, head to the checkout page.
During the checkout process, you’ll start to fill out your billing information as if you were going to buy the items. Don’t click the purchase or submit button. The whole point here is to wait for a credit card offer to pop up while you’re filling out the page.
For the best chance of receiving an offer, fill in your data slowly and don’t use any autofill text. If you don’t get an offer to pop up, change things up in your shopping cart and try a few more times. It might just take the winning combination for your efforts to pay off.
Look for Offers that Don’t Use Full SSN
Once you receive your credit card offer, the pop-up will likely offer you a percentage discount on your purchase when you sign up for the card. Click on the button that allows you to accept the offer.
You’ll then be taken to a separate page to apply for the store credit card. This is the final test to see if the shopping cart trick has worked. If the page just asks for the last four digits of your social security number, then it probably won’t result in a hard pull on your credit report.
However, if it requires you to enter your full social security number, the application will likely result in a hard pull on your credit report. At that point, it’s best to abort mission, so you don’t rack up several inquiries. Of course, you can always try again on another website to see if you get different results.
Once you know how the shopping cart trick works, it’s time to decide which online stores you want to try out. Most retail cards that come through Comenity Bank work, plus some Synchrony and Wells Fargo cards.
Keep in mind there’s no guarantee that the shopping cart trick will work every time, but it only takes a few minutes to get to where you know if it does or not. Here’s a comprehensive listing of retail store credit cards from each bank that may not require a credit check with your application.
Comenity Bank Retail Store Credit Cards
- Abercrombie & Fitch
- Ann Taylor
- Bath & Body Works
- Brylane Home
- Coldwater Creek
- Full Beauty
- J. Crew
- Jessica London
- J. Jill
- King Size Direct
- New York & Company
- Sportsman Guide
- Victoria’s Secret
- Woman Within
Synchrony Retail Store Credit Cards
Wells Fargo Retail Store Credit Cards
How do retails store cards affect your credit?
Before you start opening multiple credit cards from your favorite stores, take a few minutes to think about how these new accounts can affect your credit score — for better and for worse. Like any new credit card, a new store card lowers the average age of your credit accounts.
The older your accounts are, the better your credit score fares in the “length of credit history” category, which accounts for 15% of your overall credit score. You also now know that if you don’t avoid a hard pull, those inquiries can eat away at your credit score as well.
Additionally, it’s important to think about why you have bad credit in the first place. If it’s from overspending and burdensome debt, then you might want to rethink opening even more credit cards. But if you’re committed to rebuilding your credit scores over the long term, a new account does have some benefits.
If you pay off your balance in full each month, it can lower your credit utilization ratio. Additionally, those on-time monthly payments can help your credit score since your payment history accounts for 35% of your score.
Credit limits on store cards are very low, usually around $500 or less. However, if you request a credit limit increase after months of using the credit card and making timely payments, the credit card issuer will usually give it to you. This will also lower your credit utilization ratio.
Only you can answer that question. But as long as you can resist the temptation to overcharge items that you can’t afford, you can realize financial benefits by qualifying for a store credit card with the shopping cart trick.
Start by only getting cards from stores you already shop at regularly. Then, you can make your usual purchases and pay off the balance in full each month to maximize your positive payment history — without spending any extra money.
It’s also wise to refrain from continuing to open new accounts since that’ll keep your age of accounts low.
Be strategic straight from the get-go so you can truly take advantage of every single benefit that comes with no-credit-check store cards. If you’re unsure of the best route to take, start with one single new credit card. Then you can test out your behavior and quickly close the account if you’re uncomfortable.
By having a game plan for every possible outcome of the shopping cart trick, you’ll make sure that you not only prevent credit damage but help improve your credit over score time.
Does the shopping cart trick still work 2022? ›
Update: The shopping cart trick isn't working to avoid a hard inquiry for everyone. So, use this method at your own risk. Comenity Bank, Synchrony Bank, and Wells Fargo store credit cards all require a hard credit inquiry now to get approved. However, you can still use this trick to see if you're pre-approved.Does the shopping cart trick work with bad credit? ›
The new store card will still appear on your credit report and will temporarily lower your credit score. You may get pre-approved for a store credit card, but the shopping cart trick might not actually work to get you fully approved. Avoiding a hard credit pull is not guaranteed.What is the easiest Comenity card to get? ›
- Zales Credit Card. Requires fair credit. $0 annual fee. ...
- Ann Taylor Store Card. Requires fair credit. $0 annual fee. ...
- Jessica London Credit Card. Requires fair credit. ...
- Torrid Credit Card. Requires fair credit. ...
- Petland Credit Card. Requires fair credit.
- OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card.
- Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students.
- Petal® 2 "Cash Back, No Fees" Visa® Credit Card.
- Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa®
- Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card.
- Capital One Platinum Credit Card.
- AvantCard Credit Card.
There are three card issuers that offer credit cards that work with the shopping cart trick on a regular basis: Comenity, Synchrony and Wells Fargo.Do store cards do a hard pull? ›
Choose carefully: Applying for a retail credit card generates a hard inquiry on your credit report, which can have a negative effect on your credit score. If you only apply for one store credit card, this hit will be temporary.Does Comenity do pre approval? ›
Some of the biggest issuers of store cards, like Synchrony, Comenity and TD Bank, don't let you check for pre-approval without shopping. But other major issuers, such as American Express and Capital One, do offer online pre-approval check tools, the results of which may include store cards.What credit score do I need for an ulta card? ›
The credit score you need for an Ulta Credit Card is 700 or better. That means people with at least good credit have a shot at getting approved for this card.Is it better to pay a credit card in full? ›
If you regularly use your credit card to make purchases but repay it in full, your credit score will most likely be better than if you carry the balance month to month. Your credit utilization ratio is another important factor that affects your credit score.Can I get a Walmart credit card with a 520 credit score? ›
The Walmart Credit Card credit score requirement is 640 or higher. That means people with fair credit or better have a shot at getting approved for this card. The Walmart® Store Card also requires at least fair credit for approval.
What bank does Kohls credit card use? ›
Our Privacy Notice is issued by Capital One, N.A. as the issuer of Kohl's Card accounts.What bank issues TJ Maxx card? ›
The TJX Rewards® Platinum Mastercard®, issued by Synchrony Bank, can be a worthy sidekick for the deal-savvy shopper who hunts bargains at T.J. Maxx and its affiliated stores.Is it easy to get a store credit card? ›
You can also apply online at the retailer's website or through the website of the bank that issues the store card. Store cards are generally easier to get approved for than a traditional credit card because they don't require credit scores as high as most major credit cards.Can you prequalify for a Macy's card? ›
You cannot qualify for a Macy's Store card pre-approval. You can, however, get approved within minutes if you apply online or at a Macy's store. Keep in mind, though, that applying for a credit card will most likely result in a hard inquiry on your credit, lowering your score for a short period of time.Can you be denied a pre-approved credit card? ›
It isn't common, but a credit card issuer could deny your application even after sending you a pre-approved offer of credit. The exact reason for such a denial can vary from one applicant to the next.Does the shopping cart trick work? ›
So yes, the shopping cart trick does exist. No, despite claims to the contrary, it does not help you get a new credit card account without a hard credit inquiry. Rather, you can use it to see if you're pre-approved for a certain store card, which can be quite helpful.Does making payments early increase credit score? ›
If you are looking to increase your score as soon as possible, making an early payment could help. If you paid off the entire balance of your credit card, you would reduce your ratio to 40%. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, it's recommended to keep your debt-to-credit ratio at no more than 30%.Is it easy to get a TJ Maxx credit card? ›
The TJX Rewards Credit Card typically approves applicants with fair credit or better, which means credit scores around 620 or higher. You can apply for a new card at any TJX-branded location, including your local T.J. Maxx.How many credit cards should you have? ›
If your goal is to get or maintain a good credit score, two to three credit card accounts, in addition to other types of credit, are generally recommended. This combination may help you improve your credit mix. Lenders and creditors like to see a wide variety of credit types on your credit report.What credit score do you need to get an Amazon Prime visa? ›
For the Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card, you'll likely need a good credit score (670 or above) to qualify. Having a good credit score does not necessarily guarantee you'll be approved, but the higher it is, the more it does improve your chances.
Is it hard to get credit with Comenity Bank? ›
Cards issued by Comenity Bank are generally easy to get approved for even if your credit score is lower than average. Easy approval can be attractive if you're working on building or repairing your credit.Does Merrick Bank give instant approval? ›
Merrick Bank Double Your Line® Mastercard®
See if you are pre-approved within minutes, without affecting your credit score. Build or rebuild your credit.
The RedCard credit cards (Target Credit Card and Target Mastercard) are issued by TD Bank USA, N.A. The RedCard debit card is issued by Target Corporation.Is it hard to get an Old Navy credit card? ›
We recommend a FICO® Score of 620 or higher to apply for an Old Navy Credit Card. A fair credit score is usually necessary to get approved for a store credit card with Old Navy. The Old Navy Visa® Card has stricter requirements since it can be used outside of Gap Inc. brands.Can I get a credit card with a 500 credit score? ›
If you don't have the best credit score, that doesn't count you out for some solid credit cards on the market. Plenty of credit cards for a 500 credit score or lower offer credit-building tools and some may even offer rewards.What credit score do you need for a Sephora credit card? ›
What Credit Score Do You Need for the Sephora Credit Card? You'll need a fair credit score of about 580 to be approved for the Sephora Credit Card, and a good credit score of about 670 to be approved for the Sephora Visa Credit Card.What is the average person's credit score? ›
The average credit score in the United States is 698, based on VantageScore® data from February 2021. It's a myth that you only have one credit score. In fact, you have many credit scores. It's a good idea to check your credit scores regularly.How can I raise my credit score 100 points overnight? ›
- Dispute all negatives on your credit report.
- Dispute all excess hard inquiries on your credit report.
- Pay down your revolving balances (0 is best, 30% is decent)
- Pay your bills on time.
- Have family add you to their cards as an authorized user.
Credit utilization — the portion of your credit limits that you are currently using — is a significant factor in credit scores. It is one reason your credit score could drop a little after you pay off debt, particularly if you close the account.What is the easiest unsecured card to get? ›
The Credit One Visa Card is the easiest unsecured credit card to get. It is available to people with bad credit or no credit. Cardholders also earn 1% cash back on eligible purchases.
What score do you need for Walmart card? ›
You need a credit score of 640 or higher to qualify for a Capital One Walmart Rewards® Mastercard®.What credit score do you need for Sam's Club credit card? ›
The credit score needed for the Sam's Club® Credit Card is at least 700. That's in the “good” credit range but barely meeting a card's minimum requirements is far from the ticket to high approval odds. You'll need income to make your payments, and the issuer will look at several other factors, too.What is the minimum credit score for a JCPenney card? ›
What are the JCPenney Credit Card requirements for approval? The JCPenney Credit Card requirements for approval include having a credit score of at least 640 (fair credit), and enough income to make monthly minimum payments.What bank is Macy's credit card? ›
Citibank, N.A. is the issuer of the Macy's Credit Card and the Macy's American Express Card.What bank is JCPenney credit card? ›
The JCPenney Credit Card is issued by Synchrony Bank.What bank does Burlington credit card use? ›
Burlington Credit Card Accounts are issued by Comenity Capital Bank.What bank is Victoria Secret credit card? ›
Credit card offers are subject to credit approval. Victoria's Secret Credit Card Accounts are issued by Comenity Bank.Can I get a T.J. Maxx credit card with no credit? ›
You need fair credit to get approved for the TJX credit card, which means a credit score of 620 or above. Your credit score won't be the only factor taken into account, however, so this is only a guideline.Which stores give credit cards easily? ›
- Target Credit Card: For people with fair credit. ...
- Walmart® Store Card: For people with fair credit. ...
- Kohl's Credit Card: For people with fair credit. ...
- JCPenney Credit Card: For people with fair credit. ...
- Fingerhut Credit Account: For people with bad credit.
Update: The shopping cart trick isn't working to avoid a hard inquiry for everyone. So, use this method at your own risk. Comenity Bank, Synchrony Bank, and Wells Fargo store credit cards all require a hard credit inquiry now to get approved. However, you can still use this trick to see if you're pre-approved.
Which stores give credit cards with bad credit? ›
- Amazon Visa Rewards Card. Amazon Visa Rewards Card. ...
- My Best Buy Visa Card. My Best Buy Visa Card. ...
- Capital One Walmart Store Card. Capital One Walmart Store Card. ...
- Target RedCard. Target RedCard. ...
- Macy's Credit Card. Macy's Credit Card. ...
- Old Navy Credit Card. ...
- TJX Rewards Card. ...
- Kohl's Charge Card.
The starting credit limit for Macy's Credit Card can be anywhere between $300 to $1,900, according to online cardholder reports. But it will depend entirely on the specifics of your credit and your overall financial situation. So, the better your credit is, the higher you can expect your spending limit to be.What is the easiest Amex card to get? ›
When applying for the Amex Blue Card, try to have a good credit score, which is a FICO® Score of 670 or above. This is one of the easiest Membership Rewards cards to open, and even consumers with average credit scores have a decent chance of approval.What credit score does Macys pull? ›
What Credit Bureau Does Macy'S Use? Macy's pulls credit scores from one of the big three bureaus (Experian, TransUnion, Equifax). Applying for a credit card means a hard pull, which impacts your credit.What is the minimum income for a Capital One credit card? ›
For example, according to card terms, Capital One requires income at least $425 per month higher than your mortgage or rent payment to qualify for a card.Do credit card companies check your income? ›
By federal law, lenders cannot extend credit to someone without first determining that the applicant has the ability to make payments, which is why credit card applications ask for things like your income, employment information, and what you pay in mortgage or rent.Why can't I get a Capital One card? ›
Check Your Capital One Account and Application History.
Your application will be denied if you've submitted a Capital One credit card application twice or more in the past 30 days. The same is true if you're past-due or over your credit limit on any of other Capital One credit card accounts.
The Shopping Cart Trick can be done on your mobile device. It is possible to have the iPhone and the Android pull up the same pop-ups that are pulled up when you are on your PC. However, you must be sure you are visiting the desktop version of the site rather than the mobile version.Is there a Bath and Body Works credit card? ›
No, there isn't a Bath & Body Works store credit card at this time. However, the Victoria's Secret Credit Card is a store card that can be used at Bath and Body Works, both for online orders, and in-store purchases.Is it better to pay a credit card in full? ›
If you regularly use your credit card to make purchases but repay it in full, your credit score will most likely be better than if you carry the balance month to month. Your credit utilization ratio is another important factor that affects your credit score.
What credit score is needed for Express credit card? ›
According to the score ranges from FICO, that means American Express applicants typically have at least a 670 score: Exceptional. 800 and above.What credit score do I need for an ulta card? ›
The credit score you need for an Ulta Credit Card is 700 or better. That means people with at least good credit have a shot at getting approved for this card.What is the highest credit limit for Victoria Secret? ›
The Victoria's Secret Credit Card credit limit is usually around $500 to start, according to forum posts, and some cardholders report limits as high as $5,000. The issuer does not include any specific Victoria's Secret Credit Card credit limit information in the card's terms, though.What credit score do you need for a Bed Bath and Beyond credit card? ›
Yes, the Bed Bath and Beyond Credit Card will do a hard pull. You will need a credit score of at least 640 to get it, which is on par with what most store cards require.Does Nike have a credit card? ›
Since there is no Nike credit card available you'll have to use a little known trick that can get you the Nike rewards you want, plus a little extra. And since credit offers change all of the time we don't know how long you will be able to take advantage of it.